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Volume 87 Issue 30 | p. 46 | Concentrates
Issue Date: July 27, 2009

Making Graphene In A Flash

Exposing precursor to a burst of camera light induces fast photoreduction
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: JACS In C&EN
Keywords: Graphene, Graphite Oxide
SCHOOL PRIDE
This logo was made by masking a portion of a graphite oxide film (brown) and exposing the remainder to light from a camera flash, which reduces the material to graphene (black).
Credit: Laura Cote/Northwestern U
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SCHOOL PRIDE
This logo was made by masking a portion of a graphite oxide film (brown) and exposing the remainder to light from a camera flash, which reduces the material to graphene (black).
Credit: Laura Cote/Northwestern U

No time to make graphene via conventional routes? Then make it "in a flash."

Northwestern University scientists have just demonstrated that graphite oxide can be converted instantly to graphene via photothermal deoxygenation by exposing the material to a pulse of light from an ordinary camera flash (J. Am. Chem. Soc., DOI: 10.1021/ja902348k).

Because of its low cost and wide availability, graphite oxide is a promising precursor for making graphene-based materials, which are being studied for use in polymer composites and electronics. The oxide is typically treated at high temperature or with potent reducing agents such as hydrazine to yield graphene.

In a flash, graphite oxide, a brown electrical insulator, is converted into graphene, a conductor. By using masking techniques, flash-reduction can be used to make the patterns shown at the end of the video.
Credit: Philip Goins/Northwestern U

Now, Laura J. Cote, Rodolfo Cruz-Silva, and Jiaxing Huang of Northwestern have shown in a video that the flash method is an instantaneous, chemical-free way to transform graphite oxide, an electrical insulator, into graphene, a conductor, at room temperature.

The team has also shown that by applying masking and photolithography methods, the flash technique can be used to fabricate complex patterns, a key step in developing electronic components.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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